Portugal 0-0 Brazil: two solid defences, and little creativity

June 25, 2010
Portugal 0-0 Brazil: two solid defences, and little creativity

A quiet game with both sides content to take a point – Brazil are the winners of the group, Portugal are the runners-up – but which, if either, will face Spain? Read more »

Japan 3-1 Denmark: two free-kicks settle the game

June 25, 2010
Japan 3-1 Denmark: two free-kicks settle the game

A straight play-off for the knockout rounds, with the draw favouring Japan. They didn’t need that safety net, and won the game convincingly. Read more »

Slovakia 3-2 Italy: Vittek’s hold-up play the key to victory

June 24, 2010
Slovakia 3-2 Italy: Vittek’s hold-up play the key to victory

A crushing defeat for Italy, but a deserved win for Slovakia, who had a more cohesive side and a clearer gameplan. Read more »

England 1-0 Slovenia: England more balanced and better in possession

June 23, 2010
England 1-0 Slovenia: England more balanced and better in possession

A much improved performance from England that sees them narrowly progress into the knockout stages of the competition. Slovenia looked to be through at full-time, but a late goal from Landon Donovan against Algeria sends them out. Read more »

Germany 1-0 Ghana: Ghana pay the price for not picking up Özil, but both progress

June 23, 2010
Germany 1-0 Ghana: Ghana pay the price for not picking up Özil, but both progress

Like yesterday’s Uruguay v Mexico game – a strange contest, because both teams were happy with the scoreline as it stood for most of the second half. Read more »

Uruguay 1-0 Mexico: the best two sides from Group A progress

June 22, 2010
Uruguay 1-0 Mexico: the best two sides from Group A progress

A strange match, considering both teams’ prisoner’s dilemma in this final group game. Read more »

Chile 1-0 Switzerland: Chile deserve win but might regret wasting chances

June 21, 2010
Chile 1-0 Switzerland: Chile deserve win but might regret wasting chances

A clash of two styles. Attacking v defensive, fluid v rigid, quick v slow, short passing v long ball. Chile emerge victorious, though it should have been a greater victory, and they were helped by a red card. Read more »

Portugal 7-0 North Korea: Korean defence pushes up, Portugal exploit the space

June 21, 2010
Portugal 7-0 North Korea: Korean defence pushes up, Portugal exploit the space

A crushing victory in a game that was extremely tight for the first half hour. Read more »

Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast: Brazil always in control

June 20, 2010
Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast: Brazil always in control

Classic Brazil under Dunga. A comfortable victory, won by controlling the ball when they have it, and controlling the space when they don’t. Read more »

Italy 1-1 New Zealand: Why did Lippi start with a 4-4-2?

June 20, 2010
Italy 1-1 New Zealand: Why did Lippi start with a 4-4-2?

A heroic defensive performance from New Zealand, who now have two more points than most people expected, but Italy’s tactics made it easy for them. Read more »

Denmark 2-1 Cameroon: Cameroon’s lopsided shape plays into the hands of Rommedahl

June 19, 2010
Denmark 2-1 Cameroon: Cameroon’s lopsided shape plays into the hands of Rommedahl

A game unlike any that had gone before it in this tournament – this was open, exciting, frantic and stretched. Denmark narrowly deserved the win, Cameroon are slightly unfortunate to be out so early, but are no great loss to the tournament. Read more »

Holland 1-0 Japan: Little tactical excitement

June 19, 2010
Holland 1-0 Japan: Little tactical excitement

There have been a few low-key games at the World Cup so far, but this was one of the worst. Holland continue to disappoint with a lack of attacking flair, whilst Japan were content with a draw, and didn’t threaten until the 90th minute. Read more »

England 0-0 Algeria: shocking display from Capello’s players

June 19, 2010
England 0-0 Algeria: shocking display from Capello’s players

A terrible performance from England in a game completely devoid of any attacking inspiration. Algeria defended excellently in their unusual 3-4-2-1 shape and got the result they were playing for, but England made it easy for them. Read more »

Serbia 1-0 Germany: red card changes the game

June 18, 2010
Serbia 1-0 Germany: red card changes the game

A game that was shaping up to be an interesting battle until Miroslav Klose’s unnecessary sending-off towards the end of the first half. Serbia won but failed to impress, whilst Germany had the better of the second half despite their numerical disadvantage. Read more »

Mexico 2-0 France: Organised v disorganised

June 18, 2010
Mexico 2-0 France: Organised v disorganised

Tactics can only explain a team’s victories or defeats to a certain extent – this awful French performance was quite clearly a failing in terms of motivation, team spirit and countless other factors that aren’t directly concerned with strategy. Read more »

Argentina 4-1 South Korea: Attacking talents overwhelm Korean defence

June 17, 2010
Argentina 4-1 South Korea: Attacking talents overwhelm Korean defence

A game that Argentina dominated from the first minute, and the scoreline is an accurate reflection of the balance of play. Diego Maradona changed Argentina’s shape slightly, resulting in a more balanced and dangerous side when going forward. Read more »

Spain 0-1 Switzerland: Spanish failings the main reason for the scoreline

June 17, 2010
Spain 0-1 Switzerland: Spanish failings the main reason for the scoreline

We were looking for Spain to really get the tournament going – they did exactly that, but by being on the end of the biggest shock so far, rather than providing an amazing attacking display. Read more »

Honduras 0-1 Chile: Bielsa’s men live up to the billing

June 16, 2010
Honduras 0-1 Chile: Bielsa’s men live up to the billing

It’s been a World Cup dominated by defensive football so far, so Chile’s all-out attacking strategy was a welcome change. They deserved the win, but should have scored far more goals. Read more »

Why Brazil’s breakthrough was always going to come from Maicon

June 16, 2010
Why Brazil’s breakthrough was always going to come from Maicon

It was inevitable that Brazil would eventually score against North Korea, and it was almost as inevitable that they would do so through Maicon, their rampaging right-back. Here’s why. Read more »

Brazil 2-1 North Korea: Exactly what we expected

June 16, 2010
Brazil 2-1 North Korea: Exactly what we expected

A good game in both tactical and entertainment terms – North Korea defended resolutely and their front two showed their technical quality, but Brazil’s patience was rewarded in the second half. Read more »

Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal: defensive organisation defeats attacking talent

June 15, 2010
Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal: defensive organisation defeats attacking talent

A hard-fought draw in a game that was a must-not-lose rather than a must-win for both sides. There was a disappointing lack of goalmouth action, but both defences were excellently organised. Read more »

Italy 1-1 Paraguay: Italy dominate possession but struggle to create

June 15, 2010
Italy 1-1 Paraguay: Italy dominate possession but struggle to create

Italy dominated the game but rarely provided a real goal threat, whilst Paraguay sat back, defended and were happy to rely on set-pieces. Marcello Lippi’s switch to 4-4-2 on the hour mark resulted in Italy looking a far better side. Read more »

Holland 2-0 Denmark: Dutch struggle to break down a disciplined Danish defence

June 14, 2010
Holland 2-0 Denmark: Dutch struggle to break down a disciplined Danish defence

A quiet game won by two scrappy goals – not really the performance we were hoping for from Holland. Some credit should go to Morten Olsen – his tactics stifled Holland’s creative players and Denmark did have chances to score. Read more »

Germany 4-0 Australia: Germany excellent, but quality exaggerated by poor Australian tactics

June 14, 2010
Germany 4-0 Australia: Germany excellent, but quality exaggerated by poor Australian tactics

We’ve now seen half of the 32 teams that will be contesting this tournament, and whilst we haven’t yet sampled the three most exciting sides – Holland, Brazil and Spain – it is undeniable that Germany have been by far the most impressive so far. Read more »

Serbia 0-1 Ghana: Victory handed to Ghana, but they deserved the win

June 13, 2010
Serbia 0-1 Ghana: Victory handed to Ghana, but they deserved the win

Serbian indiscipline played a large part in the scoreline, but Ghana were by far the better side and deserved their victory. Their performance was a continuation of their Africa Cup of Nations tactics – defend solidly, cautiously counter-attack, rely on Asamoah Gyan for goals. Read more »

England 1-1 USA: England poor in possession, US get wide players forward well

June 13, 2010
England 1-1 USA: England poor in possession, US get wide players forward well

England were the better side, but struggled to make their dominance count and came close to losing the game. The USA’s 4-2-2-2 shape caused problems and prevented England’s full-backs from getting into the game. Read more »

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria: Maradona’s men dominate but fail to convince

June 12, 2010
Argentina 1-0 Nigeria: Maradona’s men dominate but fail to convince

Eight years ago, Argentina started with a 1-0 win against Nigeria and then crashed out before the knockout stages. You wouldn’t bet on the same thing happening again, but this performance didn’t suggest that Argentina have the ruthlessness needed to win the trophy. Read more »

Uruguay 0-0 France: no cohesion in attacking zones from either side

June 11, 2010
Uruguay 0-0 France: no cohesion in attacking zones from either side

Group A is wide open following the first round of matches, after a draw in both games. The earlier game was open and exciting throughout – this one started well but faded badly as the game went on. Read more »

South Africa 1-1 Mexico: a fair result but neither side will be happy

June 11, 2010
South Africa 1-1 Mexico: a fair result but neither side will be happy

An entertaining game that finished with a fair result, a point apiece. Both sides will be relatively disappointed to come away from the opening game with just a draw, and the match demonstrated the faults of both sides more than it did their qualities. Read more »

ZM’s World Cup Betting Preview

June 11, 2010
ZM’s World Cup Betting Preview

Cameroon’s build-up to the tournament was thrown into disarray after best player and captain Samuel Eto’o threatened to walk out of the side after criticism of his performances from former Cameroon legend Roger Milla. Read more »

Which stars will Spain leave out of the side?

June 11, 2010
Which stars will Spain leave out of the side?

The reigning European Champions and the bookmakers’ favourites – this isn’t a position Spain are used to. Usually they are flashy outsiders everyone expects to self-destruct at the knockout stage, but the incredible results Spain have recorded over the past four years shows that this is both a talented and ultra-professional squad. Read more »